While going through Jim’s piles of papers for the Southern Arizona Guide, I came upon a brochure for a Memorial to the Buffalo Soldier, located in Tucson. I have been intrigued by the story of the Buffalo Soldiers since coming across an exhibit in the Presidio under the Golden Gate Bridge. Fast forward many years to Arizona and the exhibit of the Buffalo Soldier at the History Museum at Fort Huachuca in 2012.
In September 2023, Jim and I visited Camp Naco, where the Buffalo Soldiers defended the border during the Mexican Revolution. Now, in Tucson, is the Tucson Buffalo Soldier Memorial Plaza, dedicated in 2021, a project lasting over 6 years. It is located in the courtyard of the Quincie Douglas Neighborhood Center, just west of the library. It is not necessary that the Center is open as most of it is in the courtyard.
When you visit the Memorial one side of the plaques contains some history of the Buffalo Soldiers in the West and the other side are stories of some of the exceptional men who served in the Regiments of the Buffalo Soldiers. The plaques also make note that these soldiers played a significant role in several National Parks and historic sites, including the Chiricahua Mountains.
However, I walked inside the door to the left of the memorial and came across the art of David Laughlin, a Tucson artist, who spent much of his time and art studying the Buffalo Soldiers. The prints are quite remarkable. Some of his works can be found at the Arizona Historical Society and the Tucson Desert Art Museum. You may also be able to pick up a pen and ink “Comic” book of the 10th Regiment by Laughlin for you child.
Interestingly, neither this new Memorial Plaza or the book that I have, Buffalo Soldiers, a Narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West, mentions Camp Naco. I have to wonder why. Anyone? You can find the memorial at:
Buffalo Soldier Memorial Plaza
Quincie Douglas Neighborhood Center
1575 E. 36th St. Tucson 85713